Today is Buddha’s birthday, a holiday celebrated at temples across Korea with bright paper lanterns and serene pink lotus flowers, lit to bring happiness and wealth and good luck to Buddhists.
We talked about it a lot at school this week in classes; I was curious to see how many of my students are Buddhists. It turns out that half of them are always Christian, one-fourth of them are Buddhists and the other fourth are usually a mixture.
Teacher, I believe in Buddha and Jesus, one student said, which sums up the literature I’ve also read about religion in Korea–that it is an eclectic mix of religions. It sounds strange, but there is something I really love about this.
So, today is the Buddhist version of Christmas in Korea. Some of our friends took the day to try and visit three temples, which, legend has it, will bring you good luck and great fortune. We, on the other hand, have spent the day preparing for Sallie and Angus’ arrival.
And it really is like Christmas in Korea for us: our two gifts just arrived at the Incheon airport. They called from a friendly Korean man’s phone about an hour ago and are now en route to Gwangju!
We’ll post stories and photos soon!